A report from the department has recently revealed it is collecting information from tourism enterprises to capture the pandemic’s impacts on tourism in the province.

The report said the measures are implemented to find solutions as well as propose policies to prepare for the recovery and development of the local tourism industry.

About 850 tourist service businesses in the field of travel, transportation and accommodation operating in the province have been targeted for the survey, according to the department.

Lê Xuân Phương, the director of DMZ Tourism Joint Stock Company, said that since the outbreak of COVID-19 and developments that forced society to follow social distancing measures, businesses had been significantly affected with a large percentage of revenue lost.

Phương said his company’s turnover had suffered a decrease of more than 80 per cent and had to temporarily stop about 79 per cent of labor contracts.

However, the company took this time to upgrade their service facilities including those in the DMZ bar, Little Italy restaurant and DMZ hotel.

At the same time, the company conducted research on refreshing menus and product packages to attract tourists and rearrange parts of the hotel rooms to reduce costs.

Meanwhile, CEO of the Alba Spa and Alba Hotel, Châu Thị Hoàng Mai, said that although the accommodation and hotel had to be closed, the business still maintained its existing human resources and took this time to train employees with new skills to meet tourism service requirements when they return to work.

Statistics from the Tourism Association of Thừa Thiên- Huế Province revealed about 13,000 tourism workers are currently unemployed due to the pandemic, resulting in the “freezing” of hotels and restaurants.

Truong Tien Bridge in Hue – Source: Image from Wikimedia Commons

Chairman of the association Đinh Mạnh Thắng said that tourism was a specific business sector so it suffered the earliest and heaviest damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other economic sectors.

“Time for the sector to recover its market in welcoming domestic visitors and foreign tourists is about three months and between six and nine months, respectively. Therefore, the Government needs to study and have separate support policies for tourism enterprises, including a reduction in value added tax, corporate income tax, land rent and providing preferential loans for them to recover,” said the official.

Initial results of the survey conducted by the provincial Department of Tourism showed that most of the tourism service units in the area expected local authorities to consider gradually relaxing the regulations on business closure according to local ability of epidemic control. This would give businesses some opportunities to maintain their operations and retain their highly skilled workers.

At the same time, many businesses also expected the Vietnam Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the People’s Committee of Thừa Thiên Huế Province to plan to restore tourism development after the coronavirus pandemic and pay more attention to supporting tourism businesses in the implementation of policies on stimulus packages, refreshing the content of promotion programs for national and local destinations.

They appealed for more many forms of supporting businesses to participate in tourism promotion activities in domestic and foreign trade fairs and events.

Acting director of the department Lê Hữu Minh said based on the results of this survey, the department would propose relevant business support policies and main directions to the provincial People’s Committee and the VNAT in order to undertake solutions for the recovery and development of tourism in the province immediately after the pandemic is controlled.